By: Anthony Clark
October 25, 2013
ROLLE, SWITZERLAND — The Unite union and Ineos Group AG management have signed an agreement that will save the Grangemouth, Scotland, petrochemicals plant. The deal includes a three-year no-strike clause.
Unite's withdrawal of its opposition to the Rolle-based company's "survival plan," which was already supported by 50 percent of employees on the site, has allowed shareholders to invest an additional £300 million ($485 million) in the company, Ineos said in a statement. The money will be used to fund ongoing losses and to finance the building of a terminal to bring in shale gas ethane from the U.S.
Grangemouth Petrochemicals Chairman Calum MacLean said: "Unite risked 800 jobs and one of the U.K.'s largest manufacturing facilities over a union official investigation before any verdict had been announced. It then advised employees to reject the change essential to the survival of Grangemouth. Today's U-turn means Grangemouth now has an excellent future."
The Scottish government has indicated it will support the company's application for a £9 million ($14.5 million) grant to help finance the terminal and the U.K. government has given its prequalification approval for a £125 million pound ($202 million) loan guarantee facility.
Ineos Group Chairman Jim Ratcliffe added, "This is a victory for common sense. Unite advised employees to reject change and vote for closure. Thank goodness people finally came to their senses.
"Grangemouth now has a great future."